America IS Failing Its LGBTQ Citizens, And It's Not Even Up For Debate

America IS Failing Its LGBTQ Citizens, And It's Not Even Up For Debate

After the brutal fight for marriage equality, new legislation is being passed to make it harder for LGBTQ couples to adopt children
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Whether it be the busy bustling streets of Atlanta, the joy of the Coca-Cola Museum, or seeing the terrain displayed during the hit show "The Walking Dead," Georgia has forever held a special place in my heart.

During the past few decades, many television and movies have decided to film their work in Georgia. Atlanta, specifically has turned into a massive hub for the entertainment industry. When it was decided that I was going to be majoring in Mass Communications and Journalism, the subject of moving to Atlanta to further pursue my career came up again and again.

Growing up, Atlanta sort of felt like a symbol of freedom and liberalism. Cities like San Francisco, Seattle, New York, and Los Angeles have always been a goal for me. I have always held them to be the epitome of success and liberation. The cities never sleep, their streets forever bustling with the minds of youthful individuals who are full of dreams and spirit. Los Angeles, though it has forever been a dream of mine, a longing thought I have held within myself practically since I was born, however, the city of Atlanta always seemed a bit more practical. Being born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, I was always only about two hours away from Atlanta.

In a way, Georgia was always sort of a home away from home. Every time as I went through Georgia I was reminded of all the memories that this state held. Whether it be day trips to Six Flags, an adventure to the Atlanta Aquarium, or a venture into the Amazing World of Coca-Cola, it was evident to me that this state was a place I could see myself claiming as my own. The news that I read this past weekend was one that shocked me. It forever changed the way I view this state and the dreams I hold for myself in the future.

Recently, Georgia has passed legislation to discriminate against LGBT couples. The adoption process for same-sex couples can already be an exceedingly difficult one and the legislation passed by Georgia Senate has now made it a thousand times harder. Georgia was one of the few states who still did not have same-sex marriage legalized when marriage equality was granted nationwide under the Obama administration. Many of the states who refused to recognize these couples were located in the south.

Our very own Roy Moore made the announcement that even though we were a part of the fifty states in the US, Alabama would not be recognizing same-sex couples. I watched in horror as I expected him to be chosen as our next Senator. For me, the choice that we made as a state to put Doug Jones in our seat of Senate as opposed to Roy Moore who had been removed from his seat twice, not to mention his rape and pedophile allegations, was certainly a step in the right direction for the people of Alabama as well as the south as a whole.

The world was watching when Doug Jones was nominated. When this event occured, I can not describe the hope that was restored within me. I felt we might be taken seriously for once. Maybe the south would no longer be viewed as the gun toting, tobacco chewing, far right wing rednecks that we are so often labeled to me. I hate this label, this small corner we are often shoved into by the rest of the world.

However, as much as I hate it, legislation such as the one passed by Georgia only furthers such narratives. If we ever want to escape the labels of homophobia, racism, and misogyny that have been put upon us, we must fight with all we have against this sort of legislation. Queer people and the LGBTQ community are not going anywhere no matter how hard our government tries to plot against us.

All eyes are on Georgia now, seeing if they decide to take steps back in history. We have advanced so much in the past few years. Just in these past few weeks the world watched as our nation was represented by people like Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy who proudly represented more than just our country. They were skiing and skating for the LGBTQ community and every nation in the world saw that. To come into a competition as grave as the Olympics preaching for love and tolerance then pass legislation that spits in the face in the face of equality, pins the label of hypocrisy on our nation. We claim to stand by our minorities on award shows, Olympic events, and a variety of public platforms, but then allow our country to pass discriminatory legislation against its weakest people. In this day and age, attacks are being made of LGBTQ individuals time after time after time.

This legislation should be seen as nothing less than that, an attack on an American minority and a discriminatory legislation against loving couples who want to start a family and help foster a child. Children need families and one thing that can be stated as a fact is that family is not a one size fits all issue. My own is perhaps untraditional, a loud fat Italian family who adopted a child of their own. My eldest brother, who was adopted at five years old held no care if he had a mother, father, and a traditional home. What he wanted was to be taken out of the orphanage and placed into a home that loved him. He got nothing short of that.

Although my own family is what society deems “traditional” in some ways, we are a mostly right-wing Christian family who attended church every Sunday and often took great pride in living in the “Bible Belt,” I can say with great assurance that my older brother would have given no care either way. He wanted a place to live and people to love. That kind of comfort does not know any tradition, gender, or religion.

That kind of comfort simply comes from a unit of people who hold love within them.

My brother did not object to the loud, outrageous Italian family who he grew to call his own, nor would he have objected to two loving mothers or fathers who took him in either.

Love is love.

Family is family.

These are both three words I can say as facts.

It’s time for Georgia as well as many other states who seem to be stuck in the past to realize this. You’re better than this, Georgia, really and truly you are.

The state I knew was full of love and laughter, not legislation of bigotry.

Do better.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Joshua Stitt on Unsplash

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20 Rules Of A Southern Belle

It is more than just biscuits and grits.
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These unwritten rules separate the people that move to the South and were born and raised in the South. If you were born and raised in a small southern town, you either are a southern belle or hope you get to marry one. Their southern charm is hard to dislike and impossible to be taught.

1. Adults are to be answered with "Yes ma’am" and "Yes sir."

Whether it’s your parents, grandparents, or the person that checks you out at the grocery store, always say yes ma’am.

2. Always write a thank you note.

For any and everything. No gesture is too small.

3. Expect a gentleman to hold the door open and pull out your chair.

Chivalry is not dead; you just need to find the right guy.

4. All tea is sweet.

Below the Mason-Dixon Line, tea is made no other way.

5. Don’t be afraid to cook with butter.

I’ve never met a good cook that didn’t giggle a little.

6. “Coke” refers to all sodas.

Here in the south, this means all types of sodas.

7. Pearls go with anything — literally anything

And every southern belle is bound to have at least one good set.

8. "If it’s not moving, monogram it."

9. Pastels are always in fashion.

And they look good on almost everyone.

10. And so is Lilly Pulitzer.

11. Curls, curls and more curls.

The bigger the hair, the closer to Jesus.

12. If you are wearing sandals, your toenails should be done.

13. Never ever ever wear white shoes, pants, dresses, or purses after Labor Day or before Easter.

Brides are the only exception. Yes we actually do follow this rule.

14. Never leave the house without lipstick.

A little mascara and lipstick can work miracles.

15. Always wear white when you walk down the aisle.

Weddings are taken very seriously here in the South, and they should be nothing but traditional.

16. Southern weddings should always be big.

The more bridesmaids the better.

17. Saturdays in the fall are reserved for college football.

Whether you spend it tailgating in that college town or watching the big game from your living room. You can guarantee that all southerner’s eyes will be glued to the game.

18. Sunday is for Jesus and resting.

19. Learn how to take compliments curiously.

20. Have class, always.

Cover Image Credit: Daily Mail

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It's 2019, And I Can Confirm One Size Does Not Fit All, At All

I'll take feeling good over meeting your standards. Thank you.

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We live in a society where being yourself and expressing who you truly are is something that is becoming more and more accepted and is actually trendy. Left and right, people are coming forward and declaring who they are and want to be in life and there is a crowd of people there to cheer them on.

There is also always that small percent sitting in the corner, ready to throw derogatory comments and taint the self-love, respect, and acceptance that's flowing.

Every single time this happens, the internet breaks and feuds form in the comment sections. How many times does this fight have to be had before people just mind their own business? How someone looks is frankly none of your concern. Whether you think the person is too fat, too skinny, too girly, too rough, too whatever, it's none of your business.

I'm a firm believer that one should focus on their own life instead of living to tear others down. You should be more concerned with feeling good in your own body than wasting your energy trying to make people ashamed of theirs. It's not your place to comment on someone's appearance.

We should work on building up confidence and feeling good in our skin. Exercising, working on your mental health, and surrounding yourself with good energy will improve your life exponentially. DO NOT do this to achieve an aesthetic or try to look like an Instagram model. Only do it to feel good about yourself internally. What you look like on the outside should only matter to you.

I would be lying if I said I didn't fall victim to countless beautiful women who post their swimsuit photos looking like they stepped out of Vogue magazine. I would be lying if I said I didn't struggle with my own body image and have to remind myself daily that it's okay to not fit their mold. I won't lie to you. We live in a world that feels the need to comment on every inch of our skin rather than focus on more important issues. Shut off the noise and ignore the words that are given in hate. You have better things to do than focus on their negativity.

Make your own mold.

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